Implementing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) During a Crisis

Download the presentation slides here

Social and emotional learning (SEL) and life skills development through classroom activities and routines is foundational to students’ academic success. SEL is increasingly recognized as a component of promoting student engagement, positive school climate, and trauma sensitive schools. Many schools are especially noticing a need for SEL supports this school year, as students across the country are coping with variety of natural disasters, community stressors and disruptions to routine at school, home and in the community. At the same time, schools are busier than ever trying to catch students up academically and regain a sense of normalcy while simultaneously supporting student and staff needs. This session will highlight a targeted, feasible approach to implement SEL during a crisis with “SEL Kernels”. SEL Kernels are evidence-based, flexible, practical strategies to promote student SEL skill development, coping and resilience. In this learning session, we will detail the steps of assessing student SEL needs, identifying SEL Kernels to meet those needs, and implementing the SEL Kernels. Ms. Dawn Capes, a district leader from Bay District Schools, Florida will share how this approach is implemented as part of their Trauma Sensitive Classroom Project which started after Hurricane Michael. We will share resources including a teacher-reported SEL skill needs assessment survey, a free, searchable SEL Lessons Library, and relevant tools from Classroom Wise.


Learning Objectives

After this learning session, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand SEL skill domains and how to conduct a needs assessment to identify priority areas for student SEL skill development.
  2. Locate free or low-cost SEL lessons or practices that can be flexibly implemented by teachers with mental health staff coaching and consultation supports.
  3. Integrate SEL implementation approaches that are practical, feasible, and effective during times of crisis or community-wide stress.


About the speakers

Elizabeth Connors, PhD

Elizabeth Connors is an Assistant Professor at Yale University, Division of Prevention and Community Research and at the Child Study Center. She is also a faculty member with the University of Maryland National Center for School Mental Health, where she is the Director of Quality Improvement and a developer of The SHAPE System. Dr. Connors received her Ph.D. in Clinical Child and Community Psychology and her work focuses on improving access to high-quality mental health promotion, prevention and intervention services and supports for underserved children, adolescents, young adults and their families in critical access points such as schools and community settings.

Michael Strambler, PhD

Michael Strambler is an Associate Professor at Yale University, Division of Prevention and Community Research and Director of Child Well-Being and Education Research at The Consultation Center at Yale. Dr. Strambler received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and his work focuses on the role of social environments in the academic, psychological, social, and behavioral well-being of children and youth. He also studies whether and how school-based programs improve the academic performance and health of children. Dr. Strambler is an enthusiast of practical approaches to use data to inform practices and policies.





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